Does meeting mean Gov. Gary Herbert will sign controversial water deal?

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 28 2012 10:55 a.m. MST

The attorneys consulted by Herbert said under that scenario, Nevada would "catch up" to the point where there is a 50/50 split, but only if sufficient water is available.

Anderson said that is a key hiccup for many critics because no one is quite sure what "sufficient" will mean at the end of the day, and the impacts may be realized too little, too late.

"Once the Southern Nevada Water Authority is allocated whatever their share of water will be and it's in the pipeline, it will be harder to enforce the environmental monitoring aspect of this agreement," he said.

Critics fear pumping the aquifer will render Snake Valley inhabitable, drying up water that provides the livelihood for ranches, farms and residents of the western desert region. Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon has also weighed in against the water-sharing plan, fearing wind-blown dust from the west desert of Utah will add to the Wasatch Front's air pollution problems.

Millard County and other critics, too, take no solace in the BLM's right of way route that keeps the water authority out of Snake Valley because they believe tapping the water in the adjacent valley will have outcomes that are just as disastrous.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which operates an extensive cattle ranch in that adjacent valley, Spring Valley, has strenuously fought the water authority's efforts to tap water there because of concerns of what it would do to its Cleveland-Rogers Ranch.

An attorney hired by the church to fight water right applications sought by the authority in Spring Valley said taking the groundwater would severely hinder its ranching operation.

E-mail: amyjoi@desnews.com, Twitter: amyjoi16

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